The challenge of change in living environments: implications and opportunities for architectural education

Department of Architecture, University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus

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Dr. Nadia Charalambous


Dr. Carla Sentieri, School of Architecture, Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain


School of Architecture, Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain

Cyprus Land and Development Corporation, Nicosia, Cyprus

Research project

Over the past few decades, cities around the world have become radically altered in the sense of scale, scope and complexity as a result of globalization, increased mobility at all levels, climate change, technological developments, economic fluctuations, terrorism, migration flows as well as internal displacements. Discussions on diversity and coexistence between communities, social inequalities, urban segregation, social justice and the right to the city as well as a strong critique of unfair urban patterns have become prominent, fuelling debates over power relations in times of rapid urban and societal transformations. These changes have had an impact on living environments and currently pose increasingly complex challenges including housing accessibility and affordability, homelessness, overcrowding, inequalities and social integration.

The changes affecting contemporary housing entail a respective transformation of architectural practice and questions the architects’ ability to handle such complex challenges. The need to address contemporary living environments collaboratively, through a multidimensional and multiscale perspective encompassing all the factors which condition the various forms of dwelling—architectural, urban, environmental, economic, political, cultural and social— in today’s societies emerges, and leads to an enormous increase in the complexity of the issues which housing actors —in particular, architects— have to deal with. This has direct implications on architectural education and on the profile of future graduates. Therefore, architectural pedagogy needs to be reviewed to proactively address changes in order to form architects who are able to effectively deal with complex and multi-layered living environments.

The aim of this research is to inform housing curricula across Europe by studying and mapping the changes affecting contemporary housing design and their impact on architectural practice.

The expected outcome of this research is guidelines on a transdisciplinary approach to housing studies pedagogy, which goes beyond disciplinary and academic boundaries.

->To conduct an individual research project, interlinked with the other ESRs projects, focusing on:
  • The identification of the factors influencing the development of contemporary housing
  • The study of housing curricula across Europe dealing with affordable and sustainable housing
  • A reflection on changes in the architectural curriculum as a result of the involvement of multiple stakeholders (local communities, local municipalities, NGOs, policy makers) in the housing design process
  • The development of a framework for a transdisciplinary approach to housing studio pedagogy
->To participate in the network-wide activities (workshops, summer schools, conferences)
->To carry out the training required by the PhD programme of the host university.

As part of the individual research project, ESRs will carry out two secondments, each of two months, in the partner organisations.

ESRs are expected to have completed a doctoral thesis that can be defended at the host institution within or shortly thereafter the project lifetime.

Host university

The University of Cyprus, established in 1989, is a vigorous community of scholars engaged in the generation and diffusion of knowledge. The main objectives of the university are twofold: the promotion of scholarship and education through teaching and research, and the enhancement of the cultural, social and economic development of Cyprus. High-calibre scholarly research is one of the main pillars of development of UCY and has been a central tenant in its mission statement since the University's establishment. In recent years, the University has become internationally recognized as a leading research institution for its contribution to the advancement of science and culture. This recognition has brought the University substantial external research funding as well as a number of highly prestigious chairs of excellence.

UCY comprises 9 faculties, 22 departments and 11 research units. The Department of Architecture leading this ESR project, and the department’s research labs, offer expertise on both the design and sustainability of housing as well as on the educational framework needed to address the design of sustainable housing environments, focusing on the synergistic relationships between economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainability.


Dr. Nadia Charalambous (

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